Haute Macabre Staff Favorites 2017: Sam’s Picks | Haute Macabre

Haute Macabre Staff Favorites 2017: Sam’s Picks

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The previous year is now weeks behind us, but it’s taken me quite some time to process. I feel that for many of us, 2017 was a truly liminal experience: a year of stepping through thresholds of discomfort and sanctity, and diving deep within each of ourselves to find a truer version of what we can each be individually and as a community.

Samantha Macabre Salem

Throughout 2017, I found myself exploring aspects of myself and my life that I had previously not wanted to face. I’m now in my late thirties, and realized that throughout the year I was finding out more about myself and the person that I am meant to be more than I ever had before. My focus had shifted more intently onto a more dedicated devotion to Haute Macabre and what it has grown into with the help of our incredible team, and also onto my shadow self. Consequently, this lead me directly into a deeper spiritual practice, one which I do keep private, but is a dominate part of my daily life now.

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I wish I could say that the year created a unified and solid foundation of Revolution, but I can’t. Yes, there are sides. Yes, so so many of us have stood up tall and shouted for What We Believe In, and for that, I am so proud and so grateful. But within those sides, within Our Side, I’ve seen so much division, so much finger pointing and name calling. At times, it’s felt like it’s a reverse McCarthyism, with accusations of not being Correct Enough flying like victory pennants. My wish for 2018 is that the truths that we all are umbrellaed beneath are enough to clear away the confusions and the anger that we displace, and continue to fuel the art that has been birthed of the chaos.

With all of that said, here are a few of my favorite things from 2017.



Joan Didion everything : I believe I mentioned beginning my first Joan Didion in a previous edition of Stacked, but if not, here’s this: not since I was a much younger version of myself have I fallen so very hard for a writer. I started with “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” while in Mexico City and made my way through (I believe) all of her essays until I found myself sobbing uncontrollably at 2AM on Halloween night to the documentary “The Center Will Not Hold” on Netflix. She has a casual, self-assured ease with words lacking any sort of pretension, and a cool confidence without any sort of arrogance. The recent publication of a collection starting with a stunning description of New Orleans in June is perfection.

Yes, I also bought the Celine sunglasses and have worn them daily since.


Close to the Knives: I spent time exploring the writers and artists that inspired me in my youth this past year, and in a rabbit hole of Rimbaud I discovered David Wojnarowicz and his Rimbaud in New York series. Close to the Knives is his memoir of life before and during the AIDS epidemic in NYC, starting with random encounters on the docks of the city and endings in hospice care. Sharply written, I can’t say that I’ve read many lines sexier than some of his graphic interludes. I believe the cover art to this memoir made it’s way onto a U2 album, but I’ll forgive him that, as every artist needs to make a dollar here and there.

Social Media:

My love / hate relationship with social media grew strongly on both sides of the spectrum this year. Yes, I found constant inspiration via Instagram (truthfully, the only SM that I really use. I don’t understand how to use Tumblr, I’m not crafty enough for Pinterest, and not interested/interesting enough for Facebook), but I also hate it for all of the same reasons that you do: The dread algorithm, the staging and the pretense, and all of the things I’m probably guilty of myself. However, here are a few of the accounts that I have enjoyed immensely, and that I hope inspire you, as well:







Favorite Apps of 2017:

  • Digit: boring, I know, but it saved me a few thousands dollars that I didn’t even notice was being debited from my checking account.
  • VSCO: how I edit all of my Instagram pics (for inquiring minds, I mostly use the “05” filter with various adjustments)
  • iLuna: this is the moon phase app to end all moon phase apps, and yes, this is what I’m constantly screen capping and posting to my IG Story.
  • Happy Cow: nearby Vegan / Vegetarian eats! We ate our way across Mexico City with this, and were very well fed.

Favorite Cosmetic Products / Influencers: 


It’s no secret that I’m a lipstick junky (which sounds so much better than compulsive hoarder). Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks have been my favorite formula since I first got my hands on Lolita a few years ago, but the shade Sanctuary has stolen my heart and kept my mouth painted perfectly most of this year.

jessica haze

Jessica Haze : I 100% fangirl Jessica Haze. I check her IG feed almost daily, especially when I’m trying to pick out a lipstick shade to wear for the day, and her YouTube Channel is a constant source of inspirational, easy to follow makeup tutorials for those of us that want to look a little more unique than the whatever Kylie Kardashian look of the week is. Jessica is also 100% Cruelty Free, which makes her even more amazing.

Honorable Mentions of Favorites, Inspiration, and Personal Adventure:


falling in love with my best friend & starting our new life together // multiple visits to and from my Philly Jawn family // immersing myself in the women of Surrealism // meeting the Haute Macabre staff writers team in person (FINALLY) // Joan of Arc // exploring Lovecraft’s Providence on cold December mornings // Sylvia Plath’s diaries // Casa Azul // having a dead cat stuck in my car since June (not sure what category this falls into, but it’s a Thing Worth Mentioning) // crescent moon face tattoos // drinking wine on the porch while hurricanes didn’t hit New Orleans //every cemetery in every city I stepped foot into //  carrying impulse buy oversized crucifixes into bars // solar eclipses and hot tubs // obsidian  at the base of the Pyramid of the Moon in Mexico // continuing to be vegan and cruelty free // Suspiria screening double dates // adding two four legged friends to my family (Gator the Sphynx and Barney the bulldog) // having ghostly encounters in Salem hotels (again!) // moving into a haunted house (again … )

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2 Comment

  1. Hey grrrl,

    I’m a long time subscriber of Haute Macabre and I’m finally writing after years and years. It’s always so awesome to read more personal stuff coming from you–I always find true inspiration in your words and aesthetic. That being said I just want to congratulate you officially for being honest and revealing about your social media issues. I deleted my FB in 2010, I never had twitter, and about a year ago I deleted my IG (gasp!!). Honestly, I’m the only person I know who is like this, but I’m thinking this is a generational thing. I’m just an angry Gen-X legit deathrocker (my husband calls me “goth punk weirdo”) and I find social media to be soul crushing and inauthentic. It doesn’t feel like true connection and conversation and as much as I love IG, it was breeding rampant narcissism in my mind and spirit which is something I already wrestle with. Also, as a side note, the gothlings and baby bats are depressing the SHIT outa me. Apparently the new generation learns makeup skills and develops dark fashion tastes specifically for IG and not the real world. In other words, these children get goth’d up for social media but do not actually participate in the goth subculture (going to the club, having the balls to dress differently in public, living the life, doing the damn thing, etc). All these things really get to me, so…I’m out. I’m living my life as a goth punk weirdo without social media and I feel fine. Absolutely no judgement if you keep your IG account, I just wanted to give you a virtual high five. Speak your truth. You are fucken beautiful.

    1. I love what you wrote and I will tell you what’s strange…Despite being an artist and musician, I was never on IG until a few months ago because I loathe all social media and find it to be incredibly unsatisfying and shallow…everything you said, and more. However, now that the algorithm has changed the way the entire platform works, I will never EVER be able to develop the kind of double-digit thousands of followers you see everywhere now (which came from being on the platform for years). The thing is, I don’t give a fuck about any of that because the small number of people who do follow me are actually invested in watching me grow as an artist. We have actual conversations and we know things about each other’s lives. I have made friends in several different countries. In other words, I have the kind of relationship with my followers NOW that most people had when IG first started.